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United in Christ? United in faith? Unionized?

Photo: Elliot Brown/Twitter

It’s no secret: ordained ministry can be difficult. It can be a lonely vocation, and one that calls priests and pastors to places of vulnerability, and in some cases, treatment and standards that would not be tolerated in the corporate world.

And now, as reported by the London Free Press, “a group of United Church ministers has teamed up with Canada’s largest private-sector union to create Unifaith, the nation’s first union for clergy.”

While I’m sure the news might surprise many Anglicans, the concept is anything but new. Clergy unions have been discussed in this country and around the world for some time, perhaps most recently in the Romanian Orthodox Church. Churches have historically been supporters of trade unions as vehicles for social justice. Many of the relief and justice organization the church supports, like PWRDF, are unionized.

I think the creation of Unifaith could inspire some healthy conversation–for both laypeople and clergy. It’s already inspiring a fair amount of conversation here at the office (and on my screen).

Are clergy employees of the church or servants of Christ? Or both? Is there a difference?

Should clergy expect the same working conditions as secular workers?

What are the grievances of clergy who seek to unionize?

Can a church that has advocated workers’ rights credibly object to their own clergy seeking to organize?

What do you think? Leave your comments below, and let’s continue this discussion together. And no matter your views, I wonder if perhaps we should be asking what conditions brought us to this discussion in the first place?

About Jesse Dymond

I'm a priest from the Diocese of Huron, serving as Online Community Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada. I have a lifelong interest in computer technology, and continue to pursue interdisciplinary studies in science and theology. I love composing and performing music, cooking, photography, sailing, and riding vintage motorcycles.
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9 Responses to "United in Christ? United in faith? Unionized?"

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